Thursday, September 25, 2014

ONE WAY (1 Timothy Chapter 2)

1 Timothy 2:5-6, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

It is wrongly supposed by many that all paths lead to heaven.  To believe otherwise is to be criticized as a “narrow-minded” or judgmental person.  This passage speaks to the truth that there is only one God, one Mediator, and one means of salvation.

There is only One God.  He is the creator of all thing and is right and just by nature and in all His ways.  He is sovereign over all and has the right to exercise judgment.  It is against Him that we have rebelled (Cf. Colossians 1:21).  Yet He nevertheless desires our salvation and has gone to great lengths to make it possible (Cf. 1 Timothy 2:4; John 3:16).

There is but one Mediator between God and men.  A “mediator” is “one equal with both parties” and was used in NT times in a legal sense in reference to a person who served as a negotiator or intermediary (Cf. 1 Corinthians 6:5).  Jesus was a man and fully so, but He was no ordinary man.  He, the divine and eternal Son of God, “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).  As the hymn puts it, “He left His Father’s throne above, so rich and infinite His grace, and emptied Himself of all but love and bled for Adam’s helpless race.”  To serve as an Advocate in the courtroom of Divine Justice one would need to be qualified.  Jesus, the God-man, is the only one qualified to do that.  He’s passed the divine “bar exam.”  He is equal with both parties.  He is God.  No sinful human can plead his own case before God.  What would we to say?  We are guilty of sin and guilty as sin.  Look into your heart.  Examine your thoughts, your words, and deeds.  The truth that we “fall short of the glory of God” is painfully obvious (Cf. Romans 3:23).  How could we ever suppose that a “not guilty plea” could stand before the omniscient and “thrice-holy” God (Cf. Isaiah 6:1-5)?  But in Jesus we have a “high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).  A mediator who “always lives to make intercession for us” for us (Cf. Hebrews 7:25).  He is man.  That’s the focus here in 1 Timothy 2:5, “the man Christ Jesus.”  To be qualified to serve as our mediator it was necessary for Him to be made equal to us.  And He was.  Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Cf. Hebrews 2:14; Philippians 2:7-8; 1 John 4:2).  Not only did he become one of us, He was identified with us in every way (Hebrews 4:15); was made “to be sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21); and bore the punishment that we deserve (Cf. Isaiah 53:4-7). 

There is only one way of salvation.  “(He) gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6).  The term “ransom” translates a Greek term which means to release by payment of a price.  The particular term used here has a prefix which adds a vicarious sense to its meaning.  In other words, Jesus did just pay a ransom, He gave Himself as the ransom.  That was, of course, the purpose for which He came (Cf. Mark 10:45).  He deliberately “gave himself.”  Many hold to the mistaken notion that the cross represents the tragic end to a good man’s life, but that’s not what happened.  God the Father sent the Son.  The Son fully submitted Himself to the Father’s will.  In His arrest He could have called on 12 legion of angels to rescue Him, but He purposed to die for you and me (Cf. Matthew 26:53).  Jesus died, and His precious blood, as “of a lamb without blemish or spot” was shed, to set us free from the penalty and power of sin (Cf. 1 Peter 1:19).

He gave Himself that through His death He might deliver us from sin.  And His work represents the sole means by which any person can be delivered.  Remember the old Evangelism Explosion question, “Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God and he were to say to you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what would you say?”?  One would suppose that the question has been responded to with a host of varied answers.  But there is only one right response inasmuch as there is only one way of salvation.  Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross (Cf. Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Peter 3:18).  There is One God, only One, and we’ve all sinned against Him (Cf. Romans 3:23).  There is One Mediator, only One, who can adequately serve to intercede on our behalf.  There is One Salvation, only One, and it is a salvation procured only on the merit of Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice.  God sets the terms when it comes to salvation.  Here are His terms—“believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31; Cf. John 1:12-13).  Believe, not with mere intellectual faith, for even the demons have that.  No, what is necessary is a sincere, heart-level, faith of the kind that relies solely on His work and receives Him as Savior and Lord (Cf. Romans 10:9).  He is the One Way (Cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

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